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easyJet: IT shouldn’t block business users from buying SaaS apps

Derek du Preez | Feb. 1, 2013
Bert Craven, enterprise architect at easyJet, has said that IT departments should loosen their controls and let business users buy and deploy software-as-a-service (Saas) applications in order to drive innovation.

"If you do these core things well and surround them with a rich set of APIs so that the marketing department can go off and find a third party to build some mobile apps, why shouldn't they? That's not our core business."

He added: "I don't want to go out and hire twenty iPhone developers. We have got a company in Ireland - I'm not even sure who they are - but they turn out a damn good app once a month and we just plug them into our API."

But how does easyJet control this without creating a sprawl of applications in the public cloud that link to its IT estate but isn't being run through the IT department itself? Craven said that easyJet doesn't even have a policy of employees needing to ask the IT department's permission to go to the cloud, but insists that it inevitably ends up getting involved because it has created a culture where business units don't feel scared to tell IT what it is doing.

"We do governance but we do it in the lightest possible way, with a minimum amount of friction placed on the organisation. I've never heard it phrased as 'they've got to come to us first', but they come to us because they know once that the app is up and running, if something goes wrong with it, the end-users will phone the helpdesk. If the helpdesk have never heard of it, that looks bad," he said.

"We have built an ecosystem using cloud that fosters innovation. If you do this then nobody feels the need to bypass you - you are the enabler and not the blocker."

It was revealed last year that EasyJet had completed the roll-out of a new website content management system designed to help convert more website visits to sales and 49 percent of all UK adults with internet access visited the site in the first quarter of 2012.


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